Henry Kaiser/Mike Keneally/Vinny Golia/Aurora Josephson/Joe Morris/Damon Smith/Weasel Walter

Healing Force: The Songs of Albert Ayler (Cuneiform)

An icon of 1960s free jazz, tenor saxophonist Albert Ayler's singularly extreme approach influenced figures disparate as John Coltrane, Peter Brötzmann, and Patti Smith. Healing Force pays tribute to Ayler's oft-reviled late period, including late-'60s albums New Grass and Music Is the Healing Force of the Universe, wherein he'd embraced elements of R&B and peace-and-love psychedelia (at which most acolytes screamed "sell-out"). Recorded in Berkeley, Force features locals Henry Kaiser (guitar), Damon Smith (bass), and Aurora Josephson (voice); NYC out-jazz guitarist Joe Morris and Zappa alumnus Mike Keneally (guitar); drummer Weasel Walter from noise-punks Flying Luttenbachers; and Vinny Golia, multi-sax giant of SoCal's avant-jazz scene. While lovingly preserving the folk-like naïveté of his melodies, this lot summons Ayler's invigorating cry without attempting aspects of his style. Golia wails passionately, the guitarists generate some truly scary noise, and Josephson's serene Kim Gordon–like croon is the balm offsetting Force's sustained high-energy agitation. While the "cosmic" lyrics are, well, dated, Healing Force is a majestic, cathartic maelstrom to chase away evil spirits.

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